By Henry Umoru – Abuja
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, on Monday, told the Senate that the major problem confronting the Ministry is that of funds.
Ngige who decried the poor budgetary allocation to the ministry, said that the activities of the Ministry are a mini table, not seen as they do not embark on the construction of bridges, but to help Nigeria build good social milieu.
He spoke yesterday in Abuja while defending the ministry’s 2020 budget estimate before the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity.
Ngige who noted that it had not been rosy for the ministry because the fund had been the ministry’s major problems, said that this emanated from the fact that most of its activities were looked upon as been intangible.
He said, “We are not building roads, bridges, airports, but we are assisting the country to maintain a big and good social milieu that will make for the security of everybody.
” If we are allowed to perform our role by adequate funding, we will pursue job creation.
“Like in pursuing job creation, like the Federal Executive Council has done to us now, any memo that comes to council without saying the quantum of jobs been created, directly and indirectly, that memo will not fly.
“We are handicapped because our offices don’t have vehicles and full personnel.”
According to him, one of the ministry’s objectives was workplace safety which was an important and delicate aspect of labour administration that needed to be reinforced.
In his remark, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, Imo South said that the core responsibility of the committee was to conduct oversight overall labour related matters.
He said that the forum was held to enable the committee members to understand the clear mandate, challenges and prospects of each MDAs under the committee’s oversight functions.
He said, “Working with the various stakeholders in the labour industry, the committee will intensify efforts to create, sustain and promote peaceful industrial relations, enhance productivity and skills, safe and decent working environment as well as universal social coverage in the country
“In his address during the inauguration of the Committees of the Senate, the President of the Senate emphasised the need for the total core operation of the executive arm of government to be forthcoming and responsive to the engagement and requests of committees.
“In this regard, MDAs under the oversight of this committee are expected to cooperate promptly as the need arises.”
Senator Uwajumogu who noted that it was the intention of the committee to resubmit Bills from the 8th Assembly that could not be passed, said that the Bills when passed into law, would improve employment generation among others.
He said, “The attention of the committee has been drawn to the cases of illegal recruitment of persons, uncoordinated implementation of projects, programmes and inflation of contracts in some MDAs. The committee will in due course investigate all these unwholesome practices.”